Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had talks today via video conference with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. In addition to EU-China relations and the cooperation to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, there were also sensitive issues on the agenda. Foreign Minister Maas emphasised:
China is a key partner for us, but also a competitor and systemic rival. Maintaining our cooperation is important to us. At the same time, however, it is crucial that, in particular, we continue to engage in dialogue on sensitive issues.
Common European position on Hong Kong
The situation in Hong Kong was also discussed during the talks. The preservation of the “one country, two systems” principle is important to Germany and our EU partners. The Minister stressed:
I again outlined to Wang Yi the joint European stance and the discussions among the EU partners on how to deal with the new legal situation. For action needs to be taken here, too. It remains important to us that, in line with the obligations under international law which China has undertaken to uphold, Hong Kong’s autonomy and the freedoms guaranteed in the Basic Law, including freedom of expression, continue to be guaranteed.
Whether it be the expansion of the 5G network or the EU-China investment agreement: economic issues play a major role in the dialogue with China. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stressed that strengthening Europe’s digital sovereignty is one of the priorities of Germany’s Presidency of the Council of the EU:
We have a strategic interest in ensuring the security of our infrastructure. To this end, security criteria will be formulated and they will have to be fulfilled by all companies desiring to be involved in expanding the 5G network.
Cooperation in the United Nations
In July 2020, Germany holds the Presidency of the UN Security Council. International conflicts such as the current one in Libya or climate change mitigation are also discussed here. These issues were on the agenda for the talks – for we need China as a responsible player in international politics.